I had a fabulous time at NCTE the week before Thanksgiving. I can’t begin to share all the lovely moments there, but here are a some highlights and a few pics.
* Riding the SuperShuttle with Cynthia Alaniz, her husband, and several other wonterful educators.
* Dinner at a noisy sports bar with all my various roommates and one more writer friend. Service wasn’t great, but our special orders probably confused the waiter, so we’ll call it even. Lots of laughing and storytelling.
* Children’s Literature Assembly Board meeting. I’m always so impressed with the time and dedication people put into volunteering for this great event.
* Brunch and talking with poet Leslie Bulion. Which also involved taking funny pictures in the lobby of the Gaylord. (More about those pictures next week.) This is not the funny pic, as you can tell. It’s Leslie with her cool forthcoming book.
* Great sessions on mentor texts, science and children’s lit, and, of course, poetry!
* An amazing Boyds Mills Press/Wordsong poetry (mostly) dinner. Wordsong has published most of my favorite poets over the years, and we had three tables full of fabulousness. J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Joan Bransfield Graham, Irene Latham, Heidi Stemple, and more. Plus educators! Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Cynthia Alaniz, Alyson Beecher, and more. AND I got to sit next to my editor, Rebecca Davis, and across from Boyds Mills’ Liz Van Doren. Many other wonderful staff, writers, and educators there, too!
* An awesome signing at the Lerner booth with Irene Latham, with Lerner giving away A ROCK CAN BE… and DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST. The line stretched long, and Irene and I got to chat with so many lovely teachers!
* Lunch with Irene and Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook/Lerner. We escaped the convention center for a delicious and quiet Thai meal. I had chicken kee mao — spicy even for me! It was great to just talk about books and poetry and life.
* CLA Master Class was awesome! Janet Wong and I organized this event about Reading Poetry Across the Curriculum. We had a bunch of amazing roundtable leaders (but no actual round tables) and respondents, and they presented fabulous info geared toward elementary educators (but definitely adaptable across age ranges). Thank you to Mary Lee Hahn, Sylvia Vardell, Jacqueline Jules, Paige Bentley-Flannery, Heidi Mordhorst, Katie Button, and Tricia Stohr-Hunt. You guys rocked! And so did all the attendees, who were engaged and enthusiastic:>) You can download the awesome handout here. It’s full of resources and tips.
*Poetry party at Janet Wong’s suite after the CLA Master Class. Probably 30 poets (mostly), editors, and educators. Add in wine, cheese, chips, ?chewy chocolate chip cookies, and veggies (which were probably he only leftovers!), plus give away books and sharing “something most people in the room don’t know about you,” and you have a fun, meaningful gathering.
* VERY early morning rising to help set up the CLA Breakfast, featuring Jon Klassen. It was a thoughtful and hysterically funny talk revealing his thought process throughout his books. Fascinating stuff.
What a great event. I think it was the best conference experience I’ve had so far. Thank you, NCTE, educators, presenters, editors, and friends, for all the great times!